“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments that both the Armenian government and the opposition can present Wednesday’s PACE resolution on Armenia as their victory. “Strangely enough, each of those assertions will be correct,” the paper says. The document mentions “all those repressions which the authorities used against their own citizens,” but says the irregularities reported in the 2003 presidential and parliamentary elections did not affect their official outcome.
“Aravot” believes that the PACE resolution puts an “important curb” on the government crackdown on the opposition. Nonetheless, the paper says, the police “manhunt” of opposition activists continues. “When our authorities need it they cite the views of Western experts with great pleasure. When [those views] are not beneficial, they make a proud stand, saying ‘Who the hell are they to teach us how to live?’” This is what happened during the passage of the controversial government bill on rallies which was strongly criticized by Council of Europe experts.
“Hayots Ashkhar” quotes the deputy parliament speaker Tigran Torosian, one of the Armenian members of the PACE, as saying that the resolution was “very good” for the authorities. “The majority backed all of our proposals,” he says. The bottom line, according to Torosian, is that the Strasbourg assembly did not question the official results of the 2003 polls and refused to endorse the opposition calls for a referendum of confidence in President Robert Kocharian.
The other parliament vice-speaker, Vahan Hovannisian, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the opposition may “discredit Armenia” in Europe but “will not achieve its goal.” “The opposition must analyze why even a quarter of the anticipated 100,000 people have not attended its rallies,” Hovannisian says. “The opposition must draw conclusions from this reality and understand that its agenda and the people’s expectations do not quite coincide.” He says the opposition has no choice but hold negotiations with the governing forces. The sooner they take place the better for the opposition, Hovannisian concludes.
“Golos Armenii” alleges that the two Armenian opposition members of the PACE “act in Strasbourg in full covenant with the Azerbaijanis.” The paper argues that the Azerbaijani parliamentarians voted for the urgent inclusion of the situation in Armenia on the agenda of the PACE’s spring session.